Students, teachers and administration officials all face anxieties as the new school year begins. Beginning at the top, Principal Dana Hilliard of Somersworth Middle School said his two concerns are making sure the students are safe when they enter the building and that he and his staff are prepared to implement any new programs they’ve developed over the summer. Mr. Hilliard begins his seventh year as principal of SMS and he and his staff have a series of new initiatives, as well as the same consistent expectations, that will be explained to parents and students in the near future. Several students were surveyed on their concerns about returning to school and they said their biggest concerns are:
“Who is going to be my home room teacher?”
“Will my friends be in my class?”
“Will I be able to do the work in my new grade level?” Fortunately, Mr. Hilliard, his admin staff, and the school’s teachers are great at anticipating these student concerns and take several steps to help students feel comfortable as they return to their home away from home. Several meetings and assemblies are being held by Mr. Hilliard and his staff to open the new school year. School staff is sure to explain and what is expected of students, what help is available to them to cope with any problems, what guidelines they are expected to follow, and what the consequences are if the expectations are not met. Just like administrators and students, teachers also face opening day jitters. Carol McKinney, who has been a physical education and health teacher for many years, explains that still feels tense about being creative and coming up with new techniques for the students. She hopes to continue working with members of the staff to be as effective an educator as possible. Justin Haight, who teacher computer science, said his greatest concern is connecting with all students and identifying those students "who fly under the radar". Maureen Tong, a language arts teacher in the seventh grade, said that her main concern is to make sure there is clear communications within her teacher team and that she is organized so that the students benefit from her objectives. Thankfully, as the new school year begins, students and staff at Somersworth Middle School ignites their sparks of inspiration and motivation.